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Role of the Judge in the Settlement Process

NCJ Number
H L Will; R R Merhige; A B Rubin
Date Published
35 pages
Three U.S. District Court judges present advice on how judges should facilitate settlements without trial in civil litigation; two of the judges then outline suggestions on how judges can stimulate settlement negotiations.
Judges vary in the degree to which they will take part in settlement negotiatons. Judges can act as catalysts in settlements, even though many cases would be settled if the judge did nothing. Settlement negotiations can be likened to a game in many respects, particularly in that they have players, a beginning, and an end. Local custom usually determines who should move first. Usually it is the plaintiff. A useful technique is the Lloyd's of London calculation whereby the most likely judgment and the chance of winning is calculated for each side, and a midway point is found as the settlement point. Judges must consider lawyers' self-esteem and try to place them in comfortable positions with respect to place, time, and atmosphere. A list of settlement tactics, descriptions of mediation and arbitration, and an excerpt from the General Rules of the court for the Eastern District of Louisiana are included.